NC:  A few nice trees...   Will Blozan
  Aug 23, 2005 16:33 PDT 
Hello all,

Just a quick note on some nice trees I have located recently, some of which
may be NC State Champions.

I was at the NC Zoo last week in Asheboro, NC and was pleased to see a fine
collection of exotic and native trees. Most notable to me was the Gordonia
, or loblolly bay. This neat tree was in full bloom and many impressive 
specimens were common. it is quite similar to Franklinia except it is evergreen. 
What a beautiful tree! A new favorite for sure.  I was floored though, by a 
tree growing in the swamp forest exhibit near the "North American" entrance.
It was both the largest girth and tallest specimen I have ever seen (which
admittedly is not many). I actually saw it from a distance and was wondering
what it could be since the crown shape was peculiar. A very narrow, tight
and columnar crown only 13' wide somehow produced a tree 43.7' tall. All
this originated on a 17" CBH stem which crushes the former NC State Champion
(although I do not have the new numbers from last year's survey). I also
measured an 11" sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana) to 26.9'. I have never
measured one so I have no idea how big they can get. A Sitka spruce in the
polar bear exhibit towered above the grass at 8' tall. There were some
cottonwoods that may be black cottonwood. I need to try to find out the
species and take some measurements.

Back in the Smokies, I spotted a yellow birch on Jim Branch that looked
quite tall even though it was an older tree with a flat crown. Just ~100
yards away grew the current eastern height record, which I originally
thought this tree must be. But it was a different tree. I shot up with the
laser from underneath and roughed it ~105'- then I realized my rangefinder
was still in meters from an earlier plot with the Park Service! I went
upslope and confirmed a 116.7' top on a 6'10" trunk. Sorry John and Bob but
you have some more searching to do!

Back in Asheville today I was pruning a tree and spotted a gorgeous, massive
Norway spruce two doors down. A stealthy trip to the base and a solid height
measurement suggest this may be a new state co-champion (again I do not know
the current champion from the new survey). The 8'11" trunk slowly tapers to
a top 107.5' up. With a 45' spread this tree has 227 points which nearly
ties a huge one in Fletcher, NC (228 points).

I have located a large American larch in Asheville that I will report on
soon. I am not sure if NC has a listing for this species. There is also a
huge (for the mountains) pecan that will be a Buncombe County champion,
crushing 2X the former champion. I also found a huge (again, for the
mountains) and rare sugarberry today that also crushes the Buncombe County
champion by 3x. It is 10'6" X 80' X 66'. I found larger ones in Hotsprings,
NC last year, but for the Asheville area and not being by a stream it rules!